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Air quality impacts of distributed energy resources implemented in the northeastern United States.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      eScholarship, University of California, 2008.
    • Publication Date:
    • Abstract:
      Emissions from the potential installation of distributed energy resources (DER) in the place of current utility-scale power generators have been introduced into an emissions inventory of the northeastern United States. A methodology for predicting future market penetration of DER that considers economics and emission factors was used to estimate the most likely implementation of DER. The methodology results in spatially and temporally resolved emission profiles of criteria pollutants that are subsequently introduced into a detailed atmospheric chemistry and transport model of the region. The DER technology determined by the methodology includes 62% reciprocating engines, 34% gas turbines, and 4% fuel cells and other emerging technologies. The introduction of DER leads to retirement of 2625 MW of existing power plants for which emissions are removed from the inventory. The air quality model predicts maximum differences in air pollutant concentrations that are located downwind from the central power plants that were removed from the domain. Maximum decreases in hourly peak ozone concentrations due to DER use are 10 ppb and are located over the state of New Jersey. Maximum decreases in 24-hr average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations reach 3 microg/m3 and are located off the coast of New Jersey and New York. The main contribution to decreased PM2.5 is the reduction of sulfate levels due to significant reductions in direct emissions of sulfur oxides (SO(x)) from the DER compared with the central power plants removed. The scenario presented here represents an accelerated DER penetration case with aggressive emission reductions due to removal of highly emitting power plants. Such scenario provides an upper bound for air quality benefits of DER implementation scenarios.
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